Article: Audio Soul Project | The House Market

The House Market

Audio Soul Project's Mazi understands the business of dance music.

by Joshua P. Ferguson
Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 11.25.10

Like the jazz session musicians of old, Mazi Namvar has made versatility the key to his success. The owner of Fresh Meat and Gourmet Records, he’s been plugging away as a DJ, producer and A&R man in Chicago for more than 15 years. A musical chameleon, Namvar has amassed some 200 releases, with output going from slinky techno to modern bouncing disco to deep and thoughtful house that’s as befitting a dimly lit living room as a humid nightclub. And up until this year, when he took a job at the Apple store on the Magnificent Mile, it’s allowed him to ply his trade full time.

Early on, most of his records bore the Mazi name, but now his concentration is Audio Soul Project, the nom de guerre for his deep, disco and sometimes garage-inflected house. With Hip Shake Heartache, his sophomore album under the name, out last November on Fresh Meat, and a smattering of live and DJ performances to follow, I met the jovial house head for coffee to discuss his love affair with the music.

Namvar was born in Iran, but his family escaped to Greece at the onset of the 1979 revolution. With the help of relatives here, they relocated to Chicago as political refugees in 1984, “the day before Gremlins opened,” he recalls fondly. It didn’t take long for him to discover house. His high-school years were spent sneaking out to Medusa’s, an integral club in Chicago’s dance music history; English and philosophy studies at the University of Illinois were merely a detour on the path to his true vocation. Eventually, he returned to the city “with the crazy idea that I don’t need to go to school anymore because I’m going to be a DJ.”

It took a while for him to get used to his lifestyle. “From the beginning I felt very uncomfortable asking people how to do anything,” he says. “So it meant a lot of time alone learning things.” After some production trial and error, he put out his first records in ’93 and ’94, self-releases funded with money from parents and friends. “I hated all those records,” he says, laughing. “DJ friends from around town would play them and I would just cringe.” Nonetheless, the spins started catching people’s ears, one set belonging to prominent DJ and International House Records label owner Bad Boy Bill.

Continue Reading (Full stream of Audio Soul Project's Hip Shake Heartache after the jump.)

Download a recent mix from the Fresh Meat Records Podomatic.

And you can catch Mazi spinning live as part of Superfreq—a new loft party series in Chicago brought to you by Mr. C, VOLATL and Alias promotions—this Saturday. Head here for more info:

Resident Advisor | Superfreq



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